The star ship was a museum of engineering. Fife eagerly crow-barred open the next panel. Behind the covering she found a snapshot into the best technology of a decade. This particular part of the twenty-second century featured solid, plastic-bodied parts emphasizing modularity with identical ports and hidden internal mechanisms. It was a treasure trove. She wished she had more time to pick and choose.
She’d already passed by arguably-living machinery with slick tubes branching smaller and smaller and running through other pulsing substrates. She bet those parts would heal from the minor cuts she’d given them when she was trying to peel away something useful. They would heal if the explosion of the core waited long enough, but she had to move on. Organic parts were modular on far too small a scale to be useful to her.
She moved on to the next section of the engineering compartment. The tension between independence and interdependence, between specialization and generalization, ebbed and flowed in each section. She passed through a highly integrated section with indecipherable, motionless parts winking lasers back and forth at each other.
She went deeper, stepping backward in time until she found what she was looking for: exposed mechanisms, space to pick at wires and wiggle aside connectors to get at the parts underneath, parts made for curious fingers, parts made for specialization and tinkering.
Fife began gathering items from the room into a manageable box she’d found on the way in. She took capacitors, batteries, electromagnets, wires, and more than a few items that she couldn’t identify, but looked cool or useful. She couldn’t help herself.
No, cut out that self talk, she scolded. She could control herself. She chose not to.
Sticking around for some loot on a ship that could explode at any moment was risky, some might say stupid, Beryl would have, but she’d made a calculated decision. There were many things to consider. For one, a ship of this nature, a Post Human sarcophagus, would have a powerful reactor core. The explosion of such a core could take a bite out of the west coast visible from space. Therefore, running away without a plan was foolish. They would need another form of transportation to escape.
That suggested the nearby spaceport, but challenges awaited there as well. Would those ships be in working order? If they were, would they have automated anti-intrusion systems? In either case, having some tools on hand would be vital.
The wildcard in all these calculations was time.
The extra consideration, tipping the scales like a cheater pulling down one side, was that Fife eagerly wanted loot.
Her box was getting full. Fife hefted it. It was heavy, but manageable. She frowned at it, turned it around. There was a button protected beneath a plastic cap on the side. She flipped open the cap and pressed the button. Gravitic generators hummed to life. The bottom of the box glowed with light like a blue flame. The box began to hover a meter above the floor.
That would make things much easier. She smiled at her handiwork and headed for the exit.
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